The Burma Campaign: Disaster into Triumph 1942-45

Written by Frank McLynn

Until I read this book, the allied operations in Burma were but a postscript to the American island-hopping war in the Pacific. When I finished reading this biographical and insightful account of the four main allied commanders directing this component of the Asian theatre, it was no longer a ‘forgotten war’. The brilliant portrayal of the four allied commanders – Orde Wingate, Joseph Stilwell, William Slim and Louis Mountbatten – reveals so much of their individual designs and strategies and significant impact on the gruesome, protracted jungle campaigns. For military history readers preoccupied with World War II European and Pacific theatres this book is a real eye-opener into the mindless and irrational support given to Chiang Kai-shek. The personal feuding and the often inappropriate vaulting ambitions are graphically and enthrallingly captured in what is undoubtedly a brilliant portrayal, leaving this reviewer stunned that what could so easily have been a devastating defeat turned into victory. Read it.